World champion and two-time European champion lightweight boxer, Katie Taylor, must train in the kitchen of her parents' home due to lack of facilities in her native Bray. Her father and trainer, Pete Taylor, said that while Katie is fortunate to be able to train at home, 58 other boxers in St Fergal's Boxing Club have no facilities.
Sinn Féin councillor for Bray, John Brady, told Village that "two years ago, the elected representatives promised to let the club use a town-owned facility in the harbour area". But according to Brady and Katie's father, "unelected officials" (a reference to county council staff such as town engineers) have deliberately obstructed the boxing facilities by storing materials in a manner that prevents more than 10 boxers training at any one time. They speculate that the reason behind the interference is the plan develop Bray's harbour area.
A Bray town council spokesperson said a vote had been taken on the issue, and it was agreed to grant the club a short-term lease on the premises. The spokesperson maintains that the club agreed that part of the building could be sectioned off for the town council to use as storage space.
Brady says that the lease of four years and nine months given to the club is insufficient to allow them to plan for the future. Without security of tenure, the club cannot apply for National Lottery funding.
The club currently trains in a community centre, where each boxer pays €1 per session. The new facility has no running water or sewage. It will cost over €30,000 to provide a ceiling, wooden floor and walls. Pete Taylor hopes to also install toilet facilities.